"I can't help feeling a little frisson of excitement at Kelly sticking it to the man."
Richmond Police precinct encompasses many small towns and hamlets in sub-tropical NSW, including the surf destination of Lennox Head, where I reside.
With the sich here being one of open beaches and pumping surf a lot of interlopers have been keen to test the will of the local constabulary in terms of enforcing the Corona virus travel restrictions.
Sunday afternoon, the kind of glorious autumn afternoon with head-high point surf that surf cats dribble over, two of NSW’s finest approached me in the carpark.
“Where do you live?”
Luckily, I was able to point over the hill and reply “right there”.
That was a satisfactory answer for the boys in blue to allow an unmolested shred.
Others did not have their paperwork in order.
My pal Mark Purser, a yoga teacher from Byron Bay, had a threatening letter from the Richmond police on the windscreen.
Taylor Miller, surfer and daughter of legend Rusty Miller, likewise copped a warning. Her sister was verbally sent home without a go-out.
Fines were dished out, as well as the warning notices.
In the water, CT wildcarder and Italian super-stud Leo Fioravanti tried to put a little hustle on me.
With the police on my side (for once), I felt emboldened to resist the young stud’s advance and return the favour.
He also got the warning note on the windscreen.
“How the fuck are you making money with no comps?” I asked him later in the top carpark.
“Sponsors,” he said.
“So, no money from the WSL at all?”
“Well, they cashed us out for last place for Snapper because it was cancelled, but the rest of the Aussie leg is postponed, so no prizemoney.”
“Ah, so that’s why they postponed it… so they wouldn’t be liable for prizemonies.”
Ten grand for last place, in case you were wondering.
Not a bad earn for a cancelled contest.
Leo ain’t the only pro who’s been knifing it down here for a strike mission.
Kelly Slater showed up, presumably with some kind of paperwork to get back across the closed Queensland border. Got himself involved in a little discrepancy with one of the local grommets which was sorted out via social media, nothing to report there except an offer to share a surf session in Hawaii with one of the local gromesses.
I got the boss cop on the phone to explain the policing.
Detective Chief Inspector Cameron Lindsay is a no bullshit old-school D and very handy on the shred.
Definitely no VAL. He’s a man you want to have on your side.
He told me we were blessed to keep beaches open for our much needed physical and mental health.
Yes, I said, very much so.
It’s about limiting non-essential travel, he told me.
“Travelling from Coolangatta to Lennox head to chase better surf is not essential,” he said, “although I appreciate some people might find it essential.”
You hear that Kelly?
He also notified our local Corona virus hot spot as Byron Bay, which justifies the ticketing of surfers from that area who might consider themselves local.
I don’t know, that one might not stack up in court.
When offered a chance to address Kelly and Leo directly Detective Lindsay was, ah, forthright.
“Consider if that travel is essential. Chasing better surf is not essential. Consider local surfers in that area by complying with the direction. We don’t want it to end up like in America or Europe where Kelly and Leo are from with closed beaches. You’d expect they would be setting an example as leaders.”
Whoa, Kelly on the wrong side of the law.
How do you see him now?
Hero or villain?
I would like a bob each way.
I’m very proud of our top cop and the way they are managing this, as are most local crew, but can’t help feeling a little frisson of excitement at Kelly sticking it to the man.
Kelly if you do end up with a notice to appear in court I will appear as a character witness and/or legal adviser gratis.
I have a novel legal defence in mind.
In the meantime, a lower profile may be in your best interests.